Petite Belle

“Belle the Bellerina”

When Belle was born in 2007, she was the last foal I would have thought I would end up keeping. She was plain in appearance, a bit spunky in attitude yet not quite as confident as the rest of her siblings. In her very early years, her lack of confidence made any sort of training difficult between the two of us since I didn’t have the patience or understanding that I needed to bring out her urge to please. I ignorantly deemed her “stupid” and quickly dismissed her.

When it was time to start her and her two sisters, she had matured quite a bit. Even with the small amount of handling my youngsters received in the years between weanling and 3, she had realized how spoiled she could be if she played along. The first time I placed her on the lunge, I knew I had found a diamond in the rough. She trotted around like Rue Paul on a runway as if she knew she had to prove herself to stay. My mother had been waiting for one of her foals to be her potential prospect and I knew Belle was the one. What I didn’t know, was that she would end up being MY ONE.

The road has been a bumpy and humbling experience. Most people don’t own one horse for 14 years. Most equestrians can’t even hold a human relationship that long. I cannot tell you how many times she has made me want to give up; not just on her, but on riding altogether. She isn’t the leggy, typey horse with all the trendy bloodlines. She’s a Thoroughbred cross with jumper lines. She probably could have been an Olympic eventing horse, but she was always too careful for my sloppy, and impulsive jumping. And since I love a good challenge, she became my dressage horse. I look back on videos of our journey together and I honestly feel sorry for her.. It’s a good thing horses don’t know their riders don’t have to suck. Then again, even if she did, she would probably still have faith that someday I would figure it out.

This year, I set a goal and I reached it. I competed in a CDI with Belle – a horse that I bred and started myself – and most importantly, I was happy with my performance. Belle and I have had a lot of bad rides, but I always knew we could do better. I had a lot to figure out. Not just how to ride, but how to stay disciplined and focused.

So, I write these words, not to beat myself up, but to encourage those of you on the same journey. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. Through the ups and downs I stayed determined, I found the right resources, and I didn’t give up. If you read my blog Finding Our Way, then you know, I made every mistake possible in the schooling ring before my I1 CDI ride. I used to win the warm-up and then lose the class. If there is one thing I have learned from this journey it’s that it is in our failures that we learn how to succeed.

Hard work pays off
Still… should have been an eventer….

Now, it's time for Belle to reap all the rewards of her years of dedication to me. She is currently enjoying relaxing in a field awaiting her first foal. She was bred to the amazing KWPN stallion, Glamourdale, in April of 2021 and will deliver in Spring of 2022. STAY TUNED!!!